Rosemary lives on her own and was referred to Agewell by her GP who felt that she would benefit from some social support to enhance her health and wellbeing.
Agewell Capacity to Care Manager, Pauline Withey, arranged to visit her and found that Rosemary didn’t need befriending, she just needed someone to boost her confidence. She was keen to get out and attend a local group but was scared to do so on her own.
“I drive out to the shops but that’s it,” explained Rosemary. “Pauline suggested I try a gentle exercise class but I said I’m no good at meeting people. So, Pauline said she’d call for me and take me there herself - and I’ve been going on my own ever since!”
This initial help and support was all Rosemary needed to gain a whole new lease of life. “I’ve made lots of friends at the exercise class at Holy Name Church,” she said. “I’ve told loads of other people about it too and they’ve also come along.
“I bumped into a lady I’ve known for years in Asda. She told me her husband had died three years ago and she said: ‘Isn’t it lonely?’ I told her about the exercise class and now she comes each week too and we go shopping together afterwards. We buy food for dinner and then eat it together. It’s a day out for us. I’d really miss the class if I had to give it up, it’s changed my life.”
Rosemary, who’s been widowed for 22 years, had a tumour in her spine 15 years ago which partly paralysed her, so was nervous about any new form of exercise.
Extend tutor, Farzana Mahmood, explained: “It’s hard going to a strange place, especially when you have a disability. Rosemary was very quiet at first so I just made her welcome.
“I noticed the things she couldn’t do and suggested other exercises. I encourage her to stand so she can improve the strength in her muscles and always work on the side she can’t move. I say: ‘Come on, let’s move this’ and make eye contact with her so she knows she needs to try.”
Rosemary also attends a weekly knitting class which she plucked up the courage to go to on her own. “You can sit at home for too long, “she said. “Pauline mentioned a local knitting group and I thought why not! I now go every Monday afternoon - and I give a 93-year-old a lift home afterwards!
“I don’t want to be housebound – you’ve got to keep going out. I feel so lucky that thanks to Agewell I now have things to look forward to.”